Rival Parties Discussing Four Names to Presidency, Qahwaji a Key Candidateإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Political arch-foes limited discussions over the presidential candidates to four names, a list which doesn't include any prominent Christian leader, An Nahar newspaper reported on Sunday.
According to the daily, Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji is a key candidate on the four-name list.
Sources told the newspaper that Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun have been seeking to eliminate any chance that Qahwaji has to be elected at the helm of the country's most important Christian post by pressing the appointment of the Military Council as a whole package.
However, outgoing President Michel Suleiman blocked Aoun's attempt by preventing the cabinet session, which was held on Friday, from meeting at the Baabda Palace to avoid discussing the appointments of the Military Council.
The current council is comprised of Qahwaji, Chief of Staff Walid Salman, and General Secretary of the Higher Defense Council Major General Mohammed Kheir.
The vacancies in the Military Council have existed for over a year following the retirement of Michel Mnayyar, Nicolas Mezher, and Abdul Rahman al-Shehaitli.
However, the Kuwaiti al-Anbaa said that Aoun expressed readiness to swap the presidential post for the Army command.
The newspaper said that Aoun is negotiating the extension the term of Suleiman by one year in return to the appointment of his son-in-law General Shamel Roukoz and the head of the Army Commando Unit as the army chief.
Suleiman had continuously reiterated that he will be at his home on May 25, as his term ends on May 24 when he is scheduled to deliver a farewell speech.
Parliament has so far failed to elect a new president over differences between the March 8 and 14 alliances.
Most of the March 8 camp's MPs have boycotted four rounds of elections over their call for an agreement on a consensual president and their rejection of the candidacy of their foe Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea.
A fifth round of polls is scheduled to be held next Thursday, two days before the expiry of Suleiman's six-year tenure.
There are fears that the vacuum in the country's top Christian post would affect Lebanon's power-sharing agreement under which the president should be a Maronite, the premier a Sunni and the speaker a Shiite.